Trefoil factors share a lectin activity that defines their role in mucus
Michael Järvå, James Lingford, Alan John, Nichollas Scott, Ethan Goddard-Borger
Published : 2019
The trefoil factors (TFFs) are disulfide-rich mucosal peptides that protect the epithelium by promoting cell migration and increasing the viscoelasticity of the mucosa. Here we show that all TFFs are divalent lectins that recognise the GlcNAc-α-1,4-Gal disaccharide, which terminates type-III mucin-like O-glycans. Structural, mutagenic and biophysical data support a model of mucus viscoelasticity that features non-covalent cross-linking of glycoproteins by TFFs.